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  • Location
    SW Louisiana
  • Interests
    Various, including Road Travel, Small Towns, Big Cities, Sightseeing the Landscape of the USA, Vintage Automobiles, Live Concerts, etc.

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  1. Recently traded into our new 2018 Essex shown here about a month ago nestled in among the Fall foliage at Tiger Run Resort in Breckinridge.
  2. Planning on taking US-50 from just west of Colorado Springs (Canon City) across to Grand Junction (over the Monarch Pass). We have a big-rig, 45' coach w/tow and wondering if others here (forum) have made the trip and can provide input on the road & grades. My understanding is its very doable, but does have a 6-9% grade for approx. 9-miles once we pass Monarch (11500 elev). Any/all comments will be appreciated.
  3. Yeah, let a lawyer on the opposing side of a courtroom get ahold of that info.
  4. I'm of the view that the value of an ESP all comes down to each individuals' risk tolerance and a bit of "luck of the draw" over an extended period of time as evidenced by those who claim to have benefitted from having purchased an ESP and others whom negate the value of them. I purchased and have an ESP so be it my personal choice. I do tend to question myself (only) on how many of those whom claim they put "money aside to self insure themselves against major mechanical failures" in lieu of purchasing an ESP actually truly do so.
  5. Not a fan of covers for RVs. They are bulky, seldom fit properly (most are universal fits) and tend to wear quickly, i.e. UV rays destroying their fabric integrity as well as when becoming saturated from rainfall can result in mold/mildew to the surface . They also create a haven for pest, i.e. insects to collect underneath not to mention the pain of putting them on, tethering and pulling them off. Anyone who makes them will speak to their protective properties and durability but IMO, that's just marketing hype. You'd be far better off erecting an overhead enclosure if your residential property code will permit otherwise consider off-site covered storage facility even better if you can find one that offers constant shore-power connection. Maybe not the answers you're seeking.
  6. Including ourselves. We pull out Monday am heading to Perry.
  7. For those planning to travel to/through Louisiana, the following notification has been issued by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. LA DOTD announces bridge joint repairs on I-10 in Lake Charles Published: Mar 01, 2018 5:00 PM CST Updated: Mar 02, 2018 4:57 PM CST (PRESS RELEASE) The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced that construction work on I-10 in Lake Charles is scheduled to begin on March 3, weather permitting. After almost 60 years of service, the expansion joints on I-10 need maintenance work. This maintenance, being performed by C.E.C., Inc. of Lafayette, will upgrade I-10 to handle the traffic volume anticipated during the upcoming I-210 redecking project. The $8.5 million project on I-10 is expected to last approximately 4 months, weather permitting. All construction work will take place between the west side of the Calcasieu River Bridge and Opelousas Street. Work will begin in the eastbound lanes of I-10. The outside lane will remain open while construction takes place in the inside lanes. Once complete, traffic will move to the new construction while repairs are completed in the closed outside lane. The westbound lanes will follow a similar pattern. Lane closures will be in effect on a 24/7 basis. Motorists are advised to use I-210 as a detour while work takes place. Additionally, motorists may use LA 12 via LA 27 and U.S. 171.
  8. In addition to the reasons stated above, many if not most "quality" pet groomers will request health verification documents before accepting a new "client" so again, it's always good to have health records with you for each pet.
  9. So now it's spring 2017 and we're set to go on our 1st real trip in our new coach. Our first tour, we set sights on heading north from our domicile in Southwest Louisiana, beginning in May 2017 to some key waypoints we've always wanted to see & visit. These include travels northward up through Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts before turning back southward through Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC, the Virginias and Carolinas, through Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi before returning home to Louisiana. What starts out as a 4-month trip spanning close to 8,000 miles. And we're off. Fully loaded and stocked up for our trip with both the Garia and our Jeep Grand Cherokee in tow we head out by traveling slightly west to Houston, TX where we overnight for a couple of days (May 27-28) to visit and dine out with some family members and friends who live there, then we're off to Lewisville, TX, (on May 29th, and home of our Newmar Dealer, NIRVC to get a few minor warranty items done for 2 days) before setting our sights (Nav System) through Arkansas onward to Tennessee. Shortly thereafter we arrive on June 4th in Nashville where via the KOA we've docked at, we get out about visiting various Music City venues, take in the Grand Ole Opry (which for us was somewhat a disappointment) and of course, try some of Nashville's fine dining establishments. Departing on the 9th, we then moved onto Anchor Down, a beautiful terraced RV resort located on Douglas Lake not far from the local attractions of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg as well as the Smokie Moutain National Park where we spent the next 7-nights taking in the sights, exploring the Park and simply relaxing. We also met some new neighboring RV friends from N. Carolina and spent a day out on the Lake with them in a rented pontoon boat (there are marinas close by Anchor Down that rent boats, jet skis, and the likes for enjoying beautiful Douglas Lake and its Dam). The Kentucky Horse Farms It's now day 20 of our tour and we're off from Dandridge to Lexington, KY and we arrive at the Kentucky Horse Park (RV park). A somewhat "simple" RV park which principally serves to cater to the needs of folks participating in events there, we found it to be mostly grassy sites and a bit challenging to back our big rig into but we made it successfully and spent the next 2 days visiting both the Horse Park itself as well as many of the surrounding farms. A nice and simple stop for us. The Indy 500 Next up on our schedule of stops was Indianapolis where we had set plans to visit the Indy 500 Race Park but due to what had become inclement weather conditions, we aborted (as we experienced severe heavy rain storms and high winds while traversing the roads to Indy and during the 2 days our our travel through Kentucky. We both agreeing that "getting out" in the weather that was forecasted for the present and oncoming days would not be the experience we wanted - agreeing the we'll be back in that part of the Country another day, another time and can return to Indy to see the park and possibly even take in a race or at least, some trials. Nappanee IN - Home of Newmar Corp. Having taken dealer delivery of our new Coach, we added Nappanee into our tour schedule in order to participate in their "factory tour" and arrived there on June 19th, now Day 24. We docked at Newmar's factory overfill lot as Camp Newmar was packed. The next day we signed up and took the tour which was interesting to say the least and somewhat amazing at how their production line works. As well, it might not have been foresight but we had developed a few issues that manifested themselves during the early phase of our trip and took being in Nappanee as an opportunity to have them addressed. (we actually had made a service appointment earlier on ahead of the start of our trip to include having our 1st house and chassis service performed). We ended up being in Nappanee for close to 3-days longer than we had planned but used the time (while Newmar was servicing our coach) to drive about and sight see the area known as the "Heritage Trail" which included visits to Elkhart, and the surrounding towns of Goshen, Shipshewana, Middlebury, Wakarusa and Bristol all the while driving through the Amish farming communities. This included a Jazz Concert event we attended on the streets of Elkhart which made for a wonderful Saturday afternoon outing. Rock & Roll Next up on our travel plans was a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Having previously made site reservations at a KOA nearby, our delay in Nappanee once again brought cause to abort the visit owning to other locations ahead where we could not alter other pre-existing reservations (no space available). This, Cleveland, became another one to be visited at a later date. Why Jackson, Ohio of all places? During the early onset of our tour we had (by chance, i.e. Facebook) learned that a dear old friend of both Lydia whom we'd not seen in close to 25 years had recently relocated to Jackson (for a new job) and so having our schedule kind of messed up at those moments, altered our trip by turning SE through Columbus to Jackson where we ended up spending 4 enjoyable days visiting with him and docked in a very small yet cozy state park. The visit was worth it as we had a great time just sitting outside the coach entertaining ourselves and our friend. Its' now day 37, July 1 and our plans have changed considerably. Niagara Falls has too fallen from our list and become another "future" venue for a later date but we're back on track with our earlier plans/reservations and heading to DC for the 4th of July. Cherry Hill Park July 2nd, after "boon-docking overnight in a WalMart in Morgantown WV on the way, we arrive in College Park MD (close to DC) at Cherry Hill Park RV Resort. From here, we can easily get into DC to visit. We also get online and manage to scorer up some front row concert tickets for the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Canned Tuna and the Wood Brother at Wolf Park and outdoor amphitheater in Vienna VA which turned out to be a great show. The next few days we primarily spent visiting DC and included being on the National Mall during the 4th of July fireworks event as well as taking in the monuments by means of a pedicab night tour which was very memorable. We highly recommend the night tours as seeing them under their special lighting is quite amazing in comparison to daytime visits. Lydia has to Go! After spending 10 nights at Cherry Hill and having already had a previously scheduled Dr.'s appointment in Houston to which she had to maintain, Lydia boarded a flight to Houston from Baltimore and left us (me and our miniature Schnauzer "Nike") to our own devices for a few days. Next Stop; Williamsburg VA. With Lydia gone, Nike and I load up and drive out, onward to Williamsburg VA. Plans being to visit the Colonial Villages (towns) of Williamsburg and Jamestown. Arriving, Nike and I find ourselves destined to fit into a very small, simple RV part that we were likely too large to fit into but managed after the staff moved a few vehicles to assist with my backing into the spot they had for us. The next two days I spent time exploring the area (some places with Nike and others while leaving him in the coach) and found it to be a charming place but somewhat less than expected likely due to the absence of Lydia. She would have drug me through countless small shops and likely the huge outlet malls they have there. Overall, it was fun but not what i personally had expected. In any case, Nike and I made the best of it without here for a few days, then once again, pulled up 'stakes" and headed southward. Hilton Head Island Next up on our tour list was HHI where Nike I and I arrived on July 15th we were reunited with Lydia who flew into nearby Savannah, GA. Docked at the Hilton Head Harbor Marina and RV report (vs. the HHI Motor-Coach Resort further into town), we used it as a platform for visiting both HH and Savannah over the course of the next 12 days. I will state here though beautiful, the daily traffic into and off the Island was horrendous and we spent a lot of time just sitting on the roads, waiting for traffic to move on way or the other. We're about to start heading home. Day 61, we depart HHI for Lawrenceville, GA which was just a stopover on our way to Foley, AL at NIRVC's newest location north of Atlanta to get the coach washed & detailed. We spent 2 nights there and departed on July 28th to Foley. Bella Terra RV Resort Foley, Al is approx. 6 miles north of Orange Beach, Al and the beachfront of the Gulf of Mexico. Pulling into Bella Terra, we quickly knew it was going to be a relaxing stay and once checked in and dock at our site, we were met with a spacious lot facing it's man made lake and fountain. Here we stayed for another 12 nights to include enjoying the company of another pair of great friends (one of which being my former work colleague) who reside in Mobile. Too much food and fun, the margaritas were great as too the omelets at brunch. The Big Easy Next up and the final stop ahead of our return home was to be the New Orleans French Quarter and Warehouse district but once again, leave it to "mother nature" to forego such plans. As it so happened, we soon learned (while still in Foley) that NOLA was once again experiencing flooding due to some dense and heavy rains that had been ongoing for a few days. So, needless to say, we cancelled our planned stay there and returned home, 8,400 miles later on day 76 of our first tour. All In. We had a meaningful and memorable experience on our first tour in our new motor coach and such that we were convinced of "finding the roads that await us" will continue to bring forth new adventures, fun and excitement. Next Up. Newmar's International Rally - Sedalia MO to be followed by the Albuquerque Intl. Balloon Fiesta. Nashville KOA During a stopover in Mocksville, NC for factory installation of Magne Shades The Kentucky Horse Park - RV Park, Lexington. Local Art in Elkhart as well as the surrounding towns on the Heritage Trail Elkhart A fine little boutique style diner. Cherry Hill Park - College Park, Maryland On the National Mall, Washington, DC July 4th 2017 Hot Tuna, belting it out at Wolf Park in Vienna, VA Night Touring the Monuments via Non-Partisan Pedicab. Gettysburg Hilton Head Marina and RV Resort. Bella Terra Motorcoach Resort, Foley, AL
  10. So in continuation, here we are back again....1 month into new ownership of our 2017 Newmar Essex and we've yet to make a "real" trip yet. We've spent 2-weeks in our Dealer's on site camp ground going through the PDI and day to day orientation on using all the systems installed in our new home on wheels. ( that period included our having taken the RV Driving School's training mentioned previously as well as our shopping for a new vehicle we can tow behind the coach). Our existing two cars were not flat tow capable and we had no desire to use a dolly or trailer). Oh yeah, now we need a Tow Vehicle. So we began looking at popular flat-towable vehicles using various forms of information such as FMCA's towables guide and determined the Jeep was clearly most popular and one of the easiest to pull. We'd also noted that many others pulling in and out of NIRVC during the course of our stay were equally pulling Jeeps so it became clear they are popular with motor home owners. So off to the dealers we went soon to find out that were by far "to proud" of their new inventories and not so willing to deal on pricing (Basically, we must have visited 5-6 separate Jeep dealers in the DFW metro area and all were asking full MSRP for their Jeeps so off to the pre-owned lots we went). At this point we're still flexible and open to consider both the Wrangler Jeep or the Cherokee (SUV). So we pull in a pre-owned dealer's lot and as Lydia sights, there sits a pretty, sharp looking Wrangler Rubicon that is all white sitting on oversized wheels and tires with a slight upward lift kit. Lydia likes it and is drawn to immediately upon stepping out of our car. Of course, within seconds a salesman pulls up in his golf cart and is already engaging her even before I've been able to shut off our car and get out of it. I already know it's not the vehicle for us but I need to let Lydia make her own decisions, Anyway, 5-10 mins. later we're off on a test drive only to make it about a 1/2-block down the street where we quickly realize that it's not the vehicle for us. (she's driving). Heck, I couldn't even find the door window button while the jeep is beating the smile out of both of us on what was a reasonably flat and good hard paved surface. She's looking at me and I'm looking at her, both of use laughing and saying NOT!. Just too hard a ride for us. We wanted something with more comfort and besides, we agreed at 62/66 we'd already passed our use by date to be driving something like that. We returned, got out of it and walked the pre-owned lot some more looking a few other vehicles we might want to consider but then left to head to the next lot. We couldn't stand the salesman tagging along with us trying to convince us we need to buy something from him right then and there. As I said we left and visited a number of other pre-owned dealers in the DFA area throughout the next few days which had turned to looking at brand new Grand Cherokees by that time. Wow, talk about sticker shock...In short, I'd told Lydia "I've never paid MSRP (full price) for a new vehicle in my life and I'm not going to start now". We can find a better deal in Houston than from these "stealers" in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I was wrong, the new car pricing in Houston was the same, i.e. full sticker price, so soon afterwards we suspended our search telling ourselves there was no rush to get a new tow vehicle and that we'd eventually find something to our liking at an acceptable price. It came to be in the form of Autotrader.com. and 4 weeks later when we ended up once again back in Houston (actually Katy, TX) where we'd found a pre-owned 2016 Black Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 SUV with the prerequisite Quadra Trac/Quadra Steer II option (required to flat tow the SUV model Jeeps). It was a one owner with 4,300 miles on it that had been traded at a BMW dealer and we bought it for $44k which was then, approx. $16k less than a new '17 with the close to the same features. A Black car, We did not intend to buy a Black car but the price was worth sacrificing the color. It also has the Hemi while we'd wanted the V6 Diesel but again, it became a matter of value for money spent. We've since come to widely appreciate the JGC. This RV stuff. Wow, one can spend a helluva lotta money in a short period of time. The purchase of coach, or better our 40% cash downpayment by itself was by far the largest check we've ever written (it was actually a cashier's check but you get the picture). Since then, we've bought a car to tow behind it and as well need to get that sorted out in the form of towing gear. Now armed with a new Tow Vehicle we soon returned to NIRVC (our Coach dealer) in Lewisville, TX (as we had some, a few small warranty repair items already to be addressed) and had them install the towing gear. At their recommendation, We agreed and opted for the Roadmaster set-up (base plate/tow bar) including the Blackhawk II 10,000 tow bar, together with the SMI Air Force One braking system. All systems a go, we latched onto it and headed back home to SW Louisiana. Enough? Well not quite (for me). Leave it to me to want something out of the ordinary and shame on both of us for dropping into a Golf Cart shop in Houston, TX (I'm thinking street legal golf cart at this point). I had been wanting one for use in our small neighborhood even before we purchased the motor coach but now..its something even more to consider. I may not have mentioned earlier, when returning to the US, we'd decided to downsize, get out of the big S&B houses in the form of a smaller 2-hr townhome which within it's Home Owners' Association (and the fee we pay) takes care of all the exterior including lawn care & maintenance - making it easy for us to come and go (in our new motor home) at our leisure without having to worry about the home. This was a good choice for us given that its just the three of us now (Us + our pet Miniature Schnauzer) Back to the cart, Oh I tell her (Lydia), having something like this to use at home as well as carry along with us when traveling in the coach would be so much fun. What is it we ask the sales persona, whereby he informs us It's a Garia 2+2 and it looks and smells just like a golf cart but isn't. Its a fully street legal US DOT compliant 4-passenger low speed vehicle (LSV) manufactured and imported from Denmark. We're sold, got to have it and it just so happens we learn that Garia's Americas & Mexico distribution center is also located in Houston, whereby a few days later we're back, visiting the distribution center with our sales person from the Golf Cart shop and choosing the color combinations (for both the LSVs exterior and interior) of our liking which of course were those which would match up as closely possible with the paint scheme of our new coach. Done. 4-weeks later the Garia is delivered to us at our home in SW Louisiana and a week later it's been legally titled, state inspected and registered (as a legal motor vehicle) in the State of LA to include being issued it's own license plates. We're legal! albeit per US DOT laws (and all states as well), our use of the Garia on public roads is restricted to roads where the published speed limits are 35-mph or less unless we're crossing an adjoining roadway to connect to another 35-mph road whereby we can traverse such roads with speed limits up to 50-mph including driving down them up to 1/2 mile if similarly connecting to another 35-mph road/street. All that's ok with us as our intention to use it will be when we're camping ("glamping" might be a better term here) at RV parks or resorts in populated areas where we can use it to drive around locally. This I can mention now has worked out very well and it's truly a lot of fun not to mention quite a conversation piece as well given its somewhat uncommon appearance. We have learned that some Valet's don't take to parking it for us but it's always fun to ask them to. Also (and as of the writing of this blog,) in 12-months of use we've yet to be stopped by a single police officer anywhere we've used it (likely owing to the fact it's clearly displays a state issued license plate on the rear). I might add here, We also opted for the single high capacity SMI Samsung Lithium battery in the Garia (which replaces the 6 6-vlt conventional golf cart batteries). The Lithium battery gives the Garia something in the range of a 40-mile distance charge, is totally maintenance free, will hold a full charge for up to 6-months while being guaranteed for 10-years for the date of purchase. I have to say, while the idea of it may not be to the liking of many, the Garia is a "load of fun" and actually has both "eco" and "sport" modes whereby the maximum speed obtainable (as built) is 25 MPH (but a slight re-programming of the onboard CPS enables it to achieve 40-mph, but please don't tell anyone). Oh and yes, Garia does make a "golf cart" version but those are not street legal. Pricey, yes. The Garia 2+2 is not a golf cart and is quite more expensive but to each his own as they say. We liked it, wanted it and now own one. How do we add this up - a Jeep SUV and the Garia + the Motor-Coach? Next up was to determine how best to transport the Garia on/with our coach. We looked at number of options including trailers, but finally made our decision of go with a special built Hydralift mounted on the rear of our coach (also available for ATVs, Trikes, and golf carts). NIRVC, again our Coach dealer helped us work with Hydralift and special order the lift which was specifically designed to handle transporting the Garia by means of its 50" x 96" platform which we purchased and had installed by their expert technicians. The lift is quite impressive, built using strengthen alloy steel components and nicely powder coated. Installation took the better part of 1-week and included special welding of its substructure to the tow/hitch receiver of our Spartan K3 chassis rated for 20,000 lbs towing capacity put us well within our capacity being only ~ 6,700 lbs. (Lift @ 650 lbs + Garia@946 lbs + Jeep SUV@ 4,933 lbs + Tow Gear @200). Prior to the installation (as well as before purchasing it), we checked with both Newmar Corporation and Spartan Chassis to reconfirm our coach's capacity to handle both the Lift and its cargo (being the LSV) to which both agreed would easily be accommodated (and not influence our OEM warranties on either the coach or the chassis). What else? While having the Hydralift installed by NIRVC, I also opted to use the opportunity to to have an engine compartment fire suppression system installed. Purchased online from Fire Fighting Products Inc., it is a 40-lbs nitrogen and chemical fire suppression filled bottle with 2 separate nozzles which were mounted above and on both sides of our ISX15 Cummins power plant. Fully automated, the system will deploy in the event temps inside the compartment reach a pre-determined level (i.e. fire). The system was relatively cheap, approx. $400.00. and can be seen in the photo of the rear engine compartment below (red bottle). Next Up - our inaugural 1st trip/tour. With plates on the shelves, and the pantry and fridge and freezer loaded up, the Garia on the lift and the Jeep latched to the rear, we're soon off on our first real RV adventure. It's going to a 5-month trip that will take us over 10,000 miles from SW Louisiana up to Niagara Falls, NY/Ontario then back down along the East coast to Florida before returning to our home base in LA. The subject of our next blog entry. Our Grand Cherokee with Roadmaster set-up. The Garia 2+2 visiting neighbors a few streets over. NIRVC Hydralift Installation along with the Fire Fighting Products Inc, Fire Suppression System. Set-up to Go. Garia's colors worked well and match up to the coach. Note; The rear passenger hand rail which host the State License plate is removable and stored in a basement compartment when loaded and being transported behind the coach (due to DOT width restrictions). On our way back home with the Hydralift installed. All in, 70' 3" OAL. Just another view of the Hydralift & Garia for those whom may be interested. The photo makes it appear that the Garia/Platform are wider than the coach but they are not. is the DOT maximum limit
  11. I store my coach indoors by means of a 60' x 100' commercial grade building with concrete foundation that I have a long term lease on. The building is located within an industrial complex that is both gated and has security cameras and while not being mechanically climate controlled it is well insulated and has exhaust fans in it. The building is approx. 10 miles from our S&B home but also accommodates more than just my motorhome. It also has water & 50-Amp hook-up I installed in it so my coach stays plugged in at all times when in storage.
  12. We'll drop by and are looking forward to it. Rick & Lydia Williams a.k.a. rewillia
  13. Carl, OP's initial post referenced the purchase of a new motorhome. I'm only suggesting that 30% off MSRP on a new unit is a good starting place. From there it's up to a smart buyer to negotiate whatever else he/she can get in terms of additional points or other concessions.
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